A 200-mph Aero Lesson
Ford GT engineers learned on advanced computers and in the wind tunnel what Ford racing legends experienced at 200 mph on the LeMans' Mulsanne straight: the GT40 race cars of the 1960s were, well, a bit aerodynamically challenging. In other words, the car's front end had a tendency to lift off the road. The 2005 Ford GT engineering team used this history lesson to devise an elaborate underbody aerodynamics package that preserves the race car's elegant exterior design while producing enough downforce to counter high-speed "lift." The team added a front splitter, which creates a high-pressure area for front downforce, and limits the volume of air traveling under the vehicle. A smooth, enclosed belly pan reduces underbody turbulence while venturi tunnels accelerate exiting air, creating a vacuum that literally sucks the car to the pavement. The result - high-speed driving that is precise, controlled and stable.